Sunday, 26 February 2012

Week beginning February 27th - Can I bring my own?

So what do you do? You are running an independent business, one which your family relies on to make ends meet, one on which your employees rely on to provide them with a wage and a good place to work.

You are very proud of your products, your company, your branding and your staff and rightly so, a lot of hard hard work has gone into it. Your staff are proud to work for you, and equally proud of the products they serve and the place they work.

Then, a customer brings into your store, another coffee, or tea, or food, from another business, perhaps a chain store, and promptly sits down and starts to eat or drink it. Sometimes they are meeting someone else and have 'just happened' to have bought that drink on the way. Other times it is a blatant 'let's eat my lunch here as well while I have a coffee'.

We see this is being a bit funny really, the cheek of some people, while some of our customers who do it have a bit of an embarrassed laugh and ask us to throw it out. 'Ha ha, oops, yes it's a Costa, yes please throw it out'

We deal with it in two main ways. Firstly, I'm sorry, but it's not allowed. I mean seriously. If I was to take my own lunch or bottle of wine into our esteemed and respected friends across the road at Riding House Cafe, or any reputable establishment for that matter, and sit down and eat/drink it, I'm sure they would be the same. Like...'What is he doing??'

We are, as we always try to be, polite and respectful to the customer. If they have met someone else who has bought one of our drinks, we will ask politely if the person will kindly empty their drink into one of our own branded cups and then they are fine to continue with their meeting.

If they have brought their own food, then I am sorry but I must ask you to pack that away and eat it elsewhere.

We do not try to embarrass, we do not belittle and we do not try to offend. Twenty five years of experience in dealing with customers in hospitality comes to the fore as well as staff trained how to deal with the situation. However, there is no way that you are going to sit in our cafe, in our business with another branded cup of of coffee or your own lunch and think it's okay. We will approach you and ask you politely to either remove the said item, or continue on your way. I think that's fair, don't you?

And with that we say thank you, please enjoy our menu for this week.

Porridge - served w choices chopped dried fruit, muscovado sugar, golden syrup or honey 2.70
Traditional bircher muesli with rhubarb and raspberry compote 3.30
Granola muesli with pomegranate molasses and rhubarb and raspberry compote 3.30
Fruit salad (pineapple, mango, strawberries, grapes, passionfruit, peach) 3.50
(add 30 p for granola or yoghurt)
Ciabatta Roll with omelette, pancetta, rocket and tomato salsa 4.70
Ciabatta Roll with courgette omelette, rocket and tomato salsa 4.70
Croissant with Italian roast ham, talleggio cheese, spinach & plum tomatoes 4.70
Croissant with gruyere cheese and plum tomatoes 3.90
Seven seed bakery bloomer toast with homemade preserves 1.70
Cinnamon and raisin toast 2.30
Banana Bread 2.20

Pastries by Seven Seed bakery
French butter croissants 1.70
Pain au chocolat 2.30
Almond croissants 2.70

Baked Treats
Lemon curd and cream cheese muffins 2.00
French onion and cheese muffins 2.00
Passionfruit friands 2.00
Super moist chocolate brownies 2.30
White chocolate blondies 2.30
Portuguese tarts 1.90
ANZAC cookies 1.70
Afgan biscuits 1.70
Lamingtons (Thurs/Fri/Sat only) 2.50


Soup 3.70 or 4.20
Spiced carrot, chilli and coriander

French retro baguettes 4.70
Pancetta, apricots, brie and spinach
Aubergine, sweet chilli, goats cheese and rocket

Foccacias with sea salt and rosemary crust 4.90
Ham, white bean and sage sauce, gruyere, pommery and spinach
Plum tomato with oregano, roasted chillies, mozzarella and rocket

Salads 4.90/5.90
Crab, pomelo, kohlrahbi, pickled horseradish, frisee & parsley & lemon dressing
Sharon fruit with gherkins, parmesan, red onion and mustard dressing
Roasted sweet potato with yellow curry dressing and coriander

Tart 4.00 or 6.90 with salad
Red onion tarte tatin


  1. Totally agree! Had people come and eat a Greggs pastry in our cafe at the height of lunch when others were standing up waiting for a seat. They couldn't understand what they were doing wrong. 'I bought a bottle of water'. So? And Greggs? Seriously?
    Only didn't mind when someone with special dietary reqs brought their own stuff and we provided a plate etc so they didn't eat from their lunchbox. Send them on their way!

  2. It's a bit more of a moral grey area than that. But in the end, it's your business and it's a bit like visiting someone's home. You are the host so you get to make the rules. It up to the customer to decide if they want to follow them or not. If they don't want to follow the rules then they are welcome to find another cafe that will let them act how they want.

    I can imagine some cafes allowing it. But you've got a limited number of seats and your approach seems very sensible. Thanks for taking the time to share it.